For some time now, we’ve known President Obama’s Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner would be leaving his post. He is said to be dissatisfied with many things associated with the economy. We’re thinking that after four years dealing with the worst economic crisis and the ongoing problems in the collective financial sector has probably exhausted him. He’s also, at times, seemed to take the side of the nation’s big banks over consumers. He played a role in the AIG bailout and depending on who you ask, his role either improved the situation or made it worse. Regardless, Geithner is out as soon as he can hit those double doors that lead back to a normal, civilian life. The question is – who replaces him? More specifically, could JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon be on the short list? And what about all of those shortcomings Dimon possesses, including a short fuse?
Dimon certainly has a few heavy hitters on his side, including more than a few political leaders. In fact, some say he would be “perfect” for the position. Others say, “No way. Keep him out of the political system”. One thing is for sure: he’s all over the map when it comes to politics. It’s difficult to tell if he’s more Democrat or Republican.
Dimon is a registered Democrat; however, he and other bank CEOs pushed hard for a Romney White House. The reason being Romney all but promised on “day one” of his presidency, he would overturn the controversial financial regulation overhauls better known as Dodd Frank. Not only that, but Dimon hasn’t bitten his tongue when it comes to giving his opinion on some of President Obama’s decisions. But there’s more to it than the politicians. What would consumers/taxpayers think? And how would consumers who have had bad experiences with their Chase credit cards or mortgages feel about his being appointed into a position that would include their tax dollars being used for his salary?
Then there’s the outspoken “shove my foot down my throat” side of Dimon. He said recently that consumers shouldn’t blame the banks for the financial crisis. When asked to clarify, he fell into one of his familiar rants and said he was “an outspoken defender of the truth”. The interviewer pushed a bit more and the reply Dimon gave was…interesting,
This is not the Soviet Union…this is the United States of America. That’s what I remember. Guess what…It’s a free. F**king. Country.
It’s natural he would feel that way since his and other big banks took hefty bailout monies as the recession kicked into high gear. Meanwhile, Americans were losing jobs by the hundreds of thousands every month and foreclosures were served in droves.
Dimon is known for possessing an aura of entitlement. He has little patience, is hot headed and makes no apologies for his bank or the economic sector as a whole. Then again, it’s not likely he’d do little more than pay lip service when it comes to taking responsibility anyway.
Before you think Dimon is too outspoken, you should consider Geithner also has a history of a quick temper – and even the occasional F bombs being thrown out at reporters and others. Two years ago, in a heated disagreement with Neil Barofsky, a one time consumer advocate, Geithner said,
Neil, I have been the most f**king transparent secretary of the Treasury in this country’s entire f**king history!”
So what does Timothy Geithner think of a Dimon political persona? Apparently, not too much. He said the arguments against Dimon were warranted and that there was too much of a conflict of interest. In fact, he doesn’t believe Dimon should be allowed to sit on the New York Fed as a board member; after all this is the agency that regulates banks. He says the same conflict would be present were he to be appointed by President Obama to fill the vacancy he is preparing to provide.
…perception is a problem,
And it’s worth trying to figure out how to fix that.
Meanwhile, Dimon has defended his position many times and continues to insist he serves only in an advisory role. His term expires at the end of the year, which leaves him open for serious consideration by the Obama Administration. Will he or won’t he? Time will tell. Meanwhile, some of the other names being overheard include Fed vice chair Janet Yellen, FDIC chief Sheila Bair and former deputy Treasury Secretary Roger Altman.
This isn’t the only vacancy the president must fill. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is slated for her own exit in the coming weeks.
So who do you think should fill those positions? Would Dimon be a suitable choice in your opinion? And who should replace Secretary Clinton? Share your thoughts and your choices with us.